February 23rd, 2008

Things I have read lately!

* I keep forgetting to mention that I recently read Jay Asher's debut YA novel of last year, Thirteen Reasons Why. I loved this book. It was a page-turner that I couldn't put down from the moment I picked it up. The premise is that of a teen suicide who sends each of the crucial people in her life on a journey around her small town three weeks after her death - including the narrator, a quiet, well-behaved high school senior.

This book was clever, immediately gripping, suspenseful, well-paced, and full of powerful moments. If I had any complaint at all it was that I occasionally felt like I was reading a script from Season One Veronica Mars. And I'm not a fan of S1 VM. But since that puts me at odds with roughly 99% of the people reading this journal, please don't let that be a deterrent. The writing was strong, the characters were well-defined, and the tone and candor of this novel has stuck with me weeks after reading it. This is definitely one to read, ponder, and share with the teens in your life.

* Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge. What a crazy, crazy time! This book! It has everything! EPIC RURAL TRAGEDY! Mistaken Identities! People Coming Back From The Dead! DRAMATIC BULL ATTACKS! Small-town Scandals! Love Squares! Shocking Secrets! Psychics and Princes! Forced Engagements! Wicked Elopements! Long-suffering Virtuous Maidens! Effigies! Animal Cruelty! Roman Roads! Drunken Routs! Deathbed Confessions! Desolate Haunting Landscapes Symbolic Of The Desolation Of The Human Soul!

Did I mention the bull? Thomas Hardy, what a wild guy! This book made me :D :D :D :D :D. I've never actually read Hardy before. And, okay, I probably won't be picking up Jude the Obscure any time soon, but I really enjoyed reading this book. It was just outlandish and WTF enough, and combined with this serene understanding of human temperament and a brittle wit that frequently made me laugh aloud, it was not at all what I expected it to be, and much more than I was expecting at all.

(Also, the whole time I read this book I could not stop picturing Ciaran Hinds in the title role. And then I found out that the BBC actually adapted this book into a film starring him. Because clearly the BBC is reading my mind. And clearly I am best casting agent ever. HIRE ME.)

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And now for an overtly negative review of The Amazing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga. One of my pet peeves is inconsistent subtexts: where the author's subtext seems to be saying one thing, but the meta-narrative of the book seems to completely contradict that theme. (My prime example here: J.K. Rowling on the subject of Slytherins.)

So, Fanboy. I hated this book. Hated. It's something that I wanted to like, because it seemed, on the surface, to be one of those charmingly sensitive, wryly adolescent portraits of two geeks and their subcultures. But instead? Collapse )

Golly, I'm ranty tonight. Think will just go write fic instead of wasting my time trying to sound smart.
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